A: Absolutely. Books that show the diversity of the world around us broaden the impact and value of literacy.
Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, known as the “mother of multicultural children’s literature,” wrote “Shadow and Substance” as a framework to analyze literature for children of color. She is most famous for showing the powerful purpose that children’s books can serve as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.
“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. But if the light is right, the window becomes a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection, we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience.” These words of Dr. Sims Bishop justify why books depicting diversity in race and culture are necessary in every child’s library.
When creating a library for children, honor the diversity found throughout the world and beyond. From their heritage and traditions to their imagination and fascination with far-a-way lands, children should be able to choose stories that reveal their limitless possibilities.